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18th Century Warship Color Schemes


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Being fairly new to this hobby I was wondering if there was any particular reason for the color schemes seen on 18th century warships?  Everything on these vessels seem to be very functional in nature, and I was curious if the color schemes had a purpose and function as well. 



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There were really no "approved" color schmes for 18th century navies.  Ships were painted with whatever paints were available, more as protection for the timbers than as decorations.  Black, yellow ochre and red ochre were relatively cheap and available so many ships sported those colors.  It was really up to individual captains as to how they painted their ships.  Nelson, for example, favored the famous yellow and black "checkerboard" paint scheme and, as an admiral he ordered his captains to paint their ships in this fashion.  However, at Trafalgar, while many French and Spanish ships were painted similarly, there were also ships painted red or black or other combinations. After Trafalgar the Nelson checker became sort of the standard for British ships.



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